2018 Chateau Calon Segur

Year: 2018
Appellation: Saint-Estephe
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96-99
Wine Advocate: 96-98
Vinous Media: 96-99
James Suckling: 97-98
Jeb Dunnuck: 97-100--Wine Enthusiast: 95-97--Jeff Leve: 97-99
Red Wine


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"Delivers a laser beam of cassis, bitter plum and cherry reduction notes, with an extremely fine-grained structure carrying this through a long finish. Accents of iron and violet are piercing in their purity and definition. A very complete and precise wine. -J.M." (WS)

"The 2018 Calon-Ségur is blended of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (14.9% alcohol). It is anticipated to age for 20 months in barriques, 100% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs just a little coaxing before it reveals seductive notes of baked cherries, warm cassis, licorice and smoked meats with nuances of hoisin, camphor, Chinese five spice and dried roses with a waft of cardamom. Full-bodied and completely packed with concentrated black fruit and spice layers, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and a wicked backbone of freshness giving an energetic lift to the very long finish. There's lots of brightness coming from the Cabernet Franc component in here, but it is nonetheless a decadent expression.

“2018 was complicated to vinify because of the potentially high alcohols,” Laurent Dufau, Managing Director of Calon-Ségur and Capbern informed me. “Also, you had to be very gentle with extraction. You had to be soft, so as not to extract too much. The alcohol percentage of the Merlot was concerning—some came in at 16% potential alcohol! And the Cabernet Franc this year was amazing on this terroir.” Merlot was picked from September 19 to 25. The Cabernets came in September 26 to October 5. Petit Verdot came in on October 8th. Yields were pretty good here on average in 2018: 41 hectoliters per hectare.

This year marks the final stages/completion of years of vineyard restructuring, new aging cellars and a gravity-fed vat room at Château Calon-Ségur. Most notably, they have been increasing vine density and slowly working on bringing more Cabernet Sauvignon rather than Merlot on line, as was the blend traditionally. No doubt about it, quality at Calon-Ségur has been on an upward trajectory in recent years! " (WA)

"A stratospheric, regal wine, Calon Ségur embodies all the best qualities of the vintage. Rich to the point of being exotically ripe, 2018 reminds me of the 2014 in its composition, but with more of everything. On the palate, the 2018 is towering and statuesque, with soaring structure and tremendous overall intensity. Striking aromatic top notes and bright saline underpinnings give the 2018 its energy, tension and nuance. As in 2014, the entirety of the château's Cabernet Franc went into the Grand Vin. Inky, powerful and explosive, Calon Ségur is a headspinning wine. Don't miss it! " (VM)

"The quality of the tannins is most notable here; they are present, but totally integrated and folded into the wine. Medium-to full-bodied with lovely savory fruit and a persistent and long finish. Very harmonious and fine. Yet, with air, it takes off with tannin power." (JS)

"In the running for the wine of the vintage in Saint-Estèphe (if not the whole Medoc), the 2018 Château Calon Ségur is a tentative blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Petit Verdot that will spend 20 months in new French oak. In comparison to the more backward Montrose and more classically styled Cos d’Estournel, this beauty is as sexy and opulent as Saint-Estèphe gets, revealing a saturated purple color, awesome notes of crème de cassis, crushed rocks, spicy oak, and cedar pencil, full body, remarkable purity, and sweet, mouth-coating tannins. Checking in at 14.9% natural alcohol, it’s a big wine, no doubt, yet is perfectly ripe (not overripe or underripe), has terrific purity of fruit and a seamless texture, all making for a singular, thrilling 2018. " (JD)

"95–97. Barrel Sample. This velvet-textured wine may be rich and high in alcohol at 15%, but is well balanced by bright fruitiness and fine acidity. The smooth texture hides the tannins which are formidable and will keep the wine aging for many years." (WE)

"Dark, inky with deep purple accents, the wine is dense, concentrated, full bodied, fleshy and powerful. The fruit shows lift, sweetness and purity. Even though the wine is quite high in alcohol, you never sense it. There is no heat or jammy aromatics. Instead your palate is ensconced in waves of ripe, intensely pure, spicy, red pit fruits. The wine was produced from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, reaching 14.9% alcohol with a pH of 3.75. The harvest took place September 19-October 8. The Grand Vin was made from 40% of the harvest. " (JL)